GFM Network News


Sweet clover is high in coumarin, which converts to dicoumarol – a potent vitamin K antagonist and anticoagulant– if the plant is spoiled or damaged.

Vet Advice: Avoiding sweet clover poisoning

A variety of bacteria and moulds can grow in sweet clover once baled or put up as silage

Preparing forages and getting them stored in perfect condition seldom happens. Spoilage is often linked to the production of moulds and a broad spectrum of mycotoxins in grains. Syndromes in domestic livestock following consumption of feed containing mycotoxins varies depending on the species of animal involved, the stage of the production cycle when it is […] Read more

Science often struggles to communicate its research findings as they are often technical and not readily understood.

Telling a story

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Our job as scientists is to find the truth. But we must also be storytellers. Science can’t exist without telling a story. The question is not whether we should use it, but how we should use it best, writes Nick Enfield in The Guardian. Scientists often struggle to communicate the findings of research. The subject […] Read more


This winter caught many cattle producers by surprise, with the deep freeze and snow depleting feed supplies quicker than anticipated.

Dealing with uncertain times

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

[UPDATED: June 13, 2019] Cattle producers across Western Canada grow weary of the relentless 2018-19 winter. For those of us living on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, it started with a record snowfall in October followed by record cold temperatures that extended across the central and northern Prairies. From mid-December to the end of […] Read more

The majority of deaths due to bovine respiratory disease (BRD) occur shortly after arrival to the feedlot or within the first 45 days.

Chute-side diagnostics for bovine respiratory disease remain elusive

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Speakers at the 2019 Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners addressed bovine respiratory disease (BRD) from several perspectives, including emergence of changing patterns of respiratory disease, economics of BRD, prudent use of antimicrobials in prevention and treatment of BRD, and diagnostics. BRD accounts for approximately 75 per cent of feedlot morbidity and 50 to 70 […] Read more


Proper planning is always a part of getting through calving season successfully.

Why calving season is different this year

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

The first major event facing cattle producers in 2019 is planning for calving season. This year there is a new wrinkle in managing animal health programs on the ranch: establishing a veterinary-client patient relationship with a veterinarian. This provides an avenue to access medically important antimicrobials through a prescription as needed. There are few ranches […] Read more

Climate change’s impact on managing animal health

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

I’m losing more arguments with grandchildren that our climate hasn’t changed significantly, prompted by signals that have only grown more evident through the last half of my lifetime. At one point, I convinced myself that climatic changes were part of a natural phenomenon — one of those things history would look upon and call an […] Read more


Fatigued Cattle Syndrome can exhibit in highly finished cattle following transport.

What we know about Fatigued Cattle Syndrome

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Fatigued Cattle Syndrome (FCS) appeared as a clinical syndrome during the summer of 2013. Scientists described it as a novel syndrome affecting highly finished cattle following transport. FCS became a welfare issue when first described and remains a potential welfare problem if not managed properly. Prevention of FCS appears on many conference agendas covering beef […] Read more

The industry needs to be aware that C. jejuni exists within most herds and feedlots.

C. jejuni – an ever-present and often forgotten bacteria

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Campylobacter jejuni (CAMP-EE-LO-BACK-TER JE-JUNE-EYE) is the most common cause of bacterial diarrhea in the North America, causing an estimated 1.5 million human diarrheal illnesses annually. Infections are common in young children, and young adults between the ages of 18 to 29. Asymptomatic human carriers are rare. Most human cases are caused through contact with animals […] Read more


Pastures of any sort as well as annual crops can harbour conditions that lead to fog fever.

Know the signs of fog fever

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Fog fever is not an uncommon condition in adult beef cattle this time of year. It is often sudden in onset and can be a cause of sudden death affecting a significant number of mature cows. It has nothing to do with “fog,” it is linked to nutrition not infection, and body temperature in affected […] Read more

Although the efficacy of blackleg vaccines is occasionally disputed in North America, there are few veterinary practitioners who would be comfortable convincing producers to stop using the vaccine.

A vaccine that saved the cattle industry

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Blackleg, a disease of many ruminants, is universal. It is most commonly seen in sheep, cattle and goats. Outbreaks have been reported in farmed bison and deer. The acute nature of the disease makes successful treatment difficult. Although the efficacy of commonly used blackleg vaccines has been disputed by the occasional academic based on the […] Read more